This article is part of our Rising Stars Portfolios Series.
I'm excited to recommend and open a position in Brink's (NYSE: BCO ) .
You've probably seen Brink's armored cars driving around your neighborhood at some point, but you probably didn't realize that Brink's trucks are seen globally. Only 30% of Brink's business comes from North America; the rest comes from around the world.
The business breaks down as follows: 55% of the company's revenue comes from its core business of cash-in-transit armored car transportation and ATM replenishment and servicing. Another 33% comes from value-added services, which include arranging secure long-distance transportation of valuables and supply-chain management of cash. The remaining 15% comes from guarding services, including airport security. Brink's also used to have a home security business, but it was spun off in 2008 as Broadview Security, and then subsequently bought by Tyco International.
Why buy: Dominant business in an oligopolistic industry …
Founded in 1859, Brink's has been operating for more than 150 years with a strong commitment to service and security. This commitment has earned it one of the strongest brands in the security business, as well as an almost unbeatable competitive position, indicated by its long-term history of strong returns on equity. Brink's also has one of the strongest balance sheets in the security business, enabling it to take market share by offering customers in-house insurance, and assuaging customers' fears over competitors' weaker financial positions.
Brink's largest competitors include Group 4 Securicor (U.K.), Loomis AB, Prosegur Compania de Seguridad (Spain) and Garda World Security Corporation (Canada). None has the same scope or financial strength as Brink's.
… With a large moat …
There are significant barriers to entry in the security transportation industry. All personnel must be trained in proper security procedures and firearms handling. A serious competitor must also have a well-managed back office to track all of the goods being transported. The trusted brand name earned over time may be Brink's best defense against competition. You don't want to trust your valuables to just anyone, and with Brink's, you know they will be safe.
... And it's cheap!
Over the last four quarters, Brink's e ked out slight revenue growth of 1%. As the recession ends, Brink's is poised to grow around the world, and its results should bear this out over the next few years. Brink's is nearly the definition of a great business, and it's not often that investors can buy into a strong company trading cheaply.
To top it off, as we wait for the market to fully value Brink's, the company pays a small dividend for a current yield of 1.5%. I'm more than willing to collect some cash while we wait for Mr. Market to award Brink's a fair valuation.
As with all investments, there are dangers to face. In the short term, a further strengthening of the dollar could hurt earnings, since 80% of Brink's revenue comes from abroad. In the longer term, the only real risk I'm worried about is a slightly underfunded pension plan. This was an issue for the company in 2009, when management had to contribute $150 million to close the gap between assets and expected liabilities. If markets drop again, management would likely have to contribute to the pension instead of reinvesting in the business. However this would only slow the company, as opposed to fundamentally harming it.
I'm buying $1,000 worth of shares of Brink's tomorrow. As Brink's says, "A dollar not lost is a dollar earned." It's an unsafe world, and Brink's is a safe, long-term investment with serious potential over the next few years.